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Stewardship Certificate (FSC) programme, for a comparable certification approach to be made available for all materials to be recognised in key assessment schemes. Around this time, the joint government and industry strategy for sustainable construction (HM Government, 2008) also set, as part of its targets, that by 2012, 25 per cent of all construction products should be purchased from RS schemes. This proved to be a significant lever in raising awareness of RS across the board, because it was positioned as a high-profile, industry level sustainability matter, alongside other key performance indicators such as carbon, waste and water. But there were two other key documents that also emerged at this time. First, in 2009, BSI published BS 8902:2009, which not only set out a baseline list of issues that need to be addressed within an RS standard in construction, but also made clear the governance requirements in operating a scheme. Secondly, publication of BES 6001:2013, the commercial, framework standard for RS was instrumental in creating a level playing field and a healthy market for RS certification, at least in the UK. The first version was launched in 2008, establishing the BRE as a focus for certification and information on RS (eg Livesey and Hughes, 2013). It meant that a manufacturer could obtain a third-party accreditation for products and materials, and promote these as being ‘responsibly-sourced’. The standard was also important because it made an explicit connection to building and civil engineering sustainability assessment schemes. 20 For example, points for RS are available in the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and CEEQUAL, the sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering, so this became the key market driver for RS products. However, in contrast, there is also some anecdotal evidence that companies without RS certificates have lost contracts because customers have selected manufacturers with current certification in place. From the beginning, some sectors (typically with support from their trade associations) reacted very rapidly to the RS agenda and, as a result, sectors such as cement and concrete were able to achieve high levels of participation from member companies. Indeed, by 2013 over 90 per cent of UK concrete (and 90 per cent of UK brick) was available with an RS certificate. Having an RS certificate in place, such as BES 6001, means that key social, environmental and economic parameters, as set out in BS 8902:2009, are being attended to such as: carbon and energy community relations labour and human rights local sourcing waste water Critically, BES 6001 entails an assessment of the company’s own management systems (Section 3.2), those of its supply chain (Section 3.3), and its environmental and social requirements (Section 3.4). It has a number of compulsory and optional elements, under which points are scored depending on the level of compliance. Depending upon the number of points scored, organisations are awarded a ‘Pass’, ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’, or ‘Excellent’ grade. CIRIA’s role in supporting the ‘agenda’ CIRIA is supporting the construction industry in taking forward the responsible sourcing ‘agenda’ in two ways – firstly through development of new guidance through the research project – Minimising risk through responsible sourcing (P2954) and secondly bringing the community together for an annual conference due to take place on 24 November 2015 in London. The construction materials industry is being subjected to growing stakeholder expectations about the accountability, transparency and legitimacy of its operations. It is time to act on these concerns and ensure that the UK construction industry is responsibly sourcing its materials and products. CIRIA, working with APRES and Responsible Solutions, is responding to this call to action by bringing stakeholders together to develop practical guidance to assist buyers to procure key materials for construction projects that takes account of the global supply chain and highlights the reputational and financial risks arising from ‘getting it wrong’. A wide range of stakeholders representing different perspectives on this topic are involved in developing this guidance. Further details on the Minimising risk through responsible sourcing (P2954) project can be found at www.ciria.org SUSTAINABILITY


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